The following exclusive statement is from Jerry Falwell, Jr., president of Liberty University.
Long before my father founded a small college that has become in the last 10 years the largest Christian university in America, the heritage and common-sense principles of the Commonwealth of Virginia were instilled in the Falwell family through generation after generation.
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It was the 1600’s when Virginia first became home to my family. By the early 1800s, my great-great-great grandfather and his business partner, Virginia Governor, William Smith, operated stage coach lines based in Lynchburg while my grandfather operated numerous businesses in the same region by the early 1900s including on Liberty Mountain. My father eventually picked that site for Liberty University. My Virginia ancestors fought the British in the Revolutionary War after being inspired by the words of Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence “When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.” I believe it is time for a new declaration of cause.
Needless to say, our state roots and values run deep, and I can confidently say the same for West Virginia Governor Jim Justice, whose family has built successful businesses across West Virginia in coal, farming, and the hospitality industry.
Following generations of Justices, “Big Jim” is making his state proud again. Other than when he talks about the championship high school basketball team he coaches, he’s too humble to take credit for the revival that’s happening in West Virginia right now. In fact, President Trump and Governor Justice are the one-two punch that the state needed.
Under Governor Justice’s leadership, West Virginia has become more attractive as an economic success story and a freedom-loving refuge by the day. The state just achieved the highest level of total employment in a single month in over a decade, as well as the lowest unemployment rate since 2008. West Virginia is truly experiencing a comeback story the likes of which they’ve never seen before, something that all West Virginians should be proud of.
While Governor Justice and I have always shared great pride for our states, what’s happening in Virginia right now is a tragedy in the making.
Democrat leaders in Richmond, through their elitism and radicalism, have left a nearly unrecognizable state in their wake. Despite a spate of scandals over the past two years, the Democrats control every statewide elected office throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia, as well as both chambers of the State Legislature — and they are using their power to strip away the God-given rights held by every person in the state, despite their due protections under the U.S. Constitution.
The Democrats are anti-life, anti-Second Amendment, anti-liberty, and even anti-business with their oppressive environmental regulations — and now they’re doing even more damage by making it more difficult for the most needy college students in the state to finance their education. Governor Northam’s recent budget proposal aims to eliminate student aid for thousands of online students attending private colleges while increasing aid for more affluent resident students attending those same colleges — a plan that would affect military, minority, and lower-income students the most.
Two thousand of those who would lose tuition assistance are online students from Virginia at Liberty University. That student population is comprised of 26 percent minorities and 65 percent low-income students. These, along with 374 members of the military, are the Virginia students whom the elitist Democrats in Richmond are attacking. While we at Liberty will support our students with private aid, hundreds of other online students in the Commonwealth face uncertain futures.
All of this smacks of elitism at a time when populism under leaders like Donald Trump and Jim Justice has restored America’s founding principles and hope for the future. But it has also awoken a sleeping giant of passionate conservatives who will stand up against this infringement of their God-given rights.
The assault on individual liberties in Virginia has also drawn attention to the fluid border that has existed ever since the great State of West Virginia was formed in the midst of the U.S. Civil War. Dating back to when the war was tearing families and communities apart, the opportunity for counties in Virginia to join the ranks of those in West Virginia has remained an open invitation to this day. While action by the legislature in both states, and possibly even the U.S. Congress, might still be required, the palpable yearning in Virginia for a pathway to greater freedom with our family in West Virginia grows greater by the day. Petitions are already circulating and one group has dubbed the movement VEXIT!
Recently, I learned about a resolution currently moving through the West Virginia House from my son, Trey Falwell, that prompted me to contact my friend, Gov. Jim Justice. It effectively puts out a “Welcome” sign inviting any counties in Virginia to become part of the State of West Virginia.
While there will likely be a robust debate about how cities and counties could leave their home state of Virginia, one thing is absolutely certain: many counties are taking a long, hard look at escaping the barbaric, totalitarian, and corrupt Democratic regime in Richmond that is trampling on individual rights throughout the state.
If the groundswell of support grows for counties and cities to leave, what’s also certain is that they will be joining the Mountain State miracle that Governor Jim Justice has engineered with the help of his good friend, President Donald Trump.
That’s why, while I will be campaigning for my good friends President Donald Trump and Governor Jim Justice this election year, I’ll also be supporting any efforts to let the people decide the question of Virginia counties joining the State of West Virginia.
The threat from the radical left is real, and it’s spreading across the country and tearing our national family apart at the seams but we have a rare opportunity to make history in our time by pushing back against tyranny in Washington and in Richmond. Virginia has divided peacefully twice already to create the Commonwealth of Kentucky in 1792 and the State of West Virginia in 1863. I hope history will also record one day how Virginia divided once again in our decade because the interests of those in Richmond were so divergent from those of us to the west- just as they were with Kentucky and West Virginia. We need a state government that is not elected by federal workers in the suburbs of Washington, DC that will protect our God-given rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and I believe West Virginia will do just that.